SAN QUENTIN (CBS SF) — A second condemned inmate on California’s death row has died at San Quentin prison, officials announced Monday.
Officials said inmate Fernando Eros Caro, 67, was pronounced dead at around 11:45 p.m. Saturday at the prison. The cause of death is unknown pending the results of an autopsy.
Caro had been on death row since Jan. 5, 1982. He was sentenced to death by a Santa Clara County jury for the August 1980 first-degree murders of Jack Lucchesi, Mark Hatcher and Mary Helen Booher, and the attempted murder of Rick Donner.
Officials said Caro encountered teenagers Hatcher and Booher, who were bicycling in a tangerine orchard, in Fowler. He shot and killed Hatcher, drove Booher a short distance and shot and killed her in a nearby orange orchard.
Caro subsequently collided with Donner’s car, shot Lucchesi and Donner and dumped the first two victims and their bicycles in an irrigation canal.
Prosecutors also allege Caro was responsible for at least four other murders.
Two days earlier, 69-year-old James David Majors, who was on death row at San Quentin State Prison since 1991 for the 1989 robbery and first-degree murders of three people at a Fair Oaks home, was taken from his cell and pronounced dead in a nearby hospital.
Authorities are waiting on autopsy results to determine Majors’ official cause of death.
Since 1978, when California reinstated capital punishment, 71 condemned inmates have died from natural causes, 25 have committed suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri, one was executed in Virginia, eight have died from other causes, and three (including Caro) have their cause of death pending. There are currently 750 offenders on California’s death row.